One out of five stars.
Gillian Flynn, you let me down. Hard. Your quote on the front of Dare Me proclaiming it to be “Lord of the Flies set in a high-school cheerleading squad… tense, dark, and beautifully written” hooked me. I purchased the book and never looked back because you’ve never led me astray. Unfortunately, Dare Me was slow, boring, and horribly written.
Dare Me follows a cheerleading squad who gets a new coach who completely revamps the team mentally, physically, and emotionally. Our main character, Addy, has been the second-in-command to Beth for as long as she remembers, but when Addy takes an interest in the new coach Beth is left behind. When a police investigation focuses on Coach, Addy is pulled in and tries to uncover the truth and quickly learns that the line between loyalty and love can be thin.
The writing style is unique, I’ll give the book that, but it took me about half the book to get used to it. It felt like there was a barrier between the story and me; a constant reminder that I was reading a fictional story. The writing also felt like television voice-overs. I will say that I love voice-overs. They can be powerful and effective (for example: Veronica Mars and iZombie), but when the entire book reads like one giant voice-over it felt tedious and lacked the closeness you feel when reading a book.
I also had issues with the plot itself. It was convoluted, unevenly paced, and slow. It felt as if the police investigation was disconnected from the cheerleading plot line. It felt like an annoying fly that keeps buzzing around your ear and won’t go away.
All the characters felt flat and were uninteresting. Addy has a Nick Carraway (from The Great Gatsby) kind of feel at the beginning, so I expected to like her by the end. However, that wasn’t the case. I actually like Carraway more than Addy (and that’s saying something).
All of these issues stem from the writing style. As I mentioned previously, the writing style created a wall between the story and me, which made connecting with the characters, and plot impossible.
Overall, Dare Me was a disappointing read that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.